Niger's opposition has vowed to "kill"
the new constitution after a Constitutional Court validated the controversial
referendum that extended Presidential Mamadou Tandja's term for three more
The embattled president recently disbanded and
reconstituted the Constitutional Court after it ruled the referendum illegal.
Tandja claimed the extension of his term was necessary to fulfill "the
will of the people." But the opposition dismissed it as a ploy to
perpetuate himself in power and loot the country's new-found natural resources
like uranium and oil.
Kamardine, a human rights activist told VOA that
Nigeriens are overwhelmingly opposed to the new constitution.
civil society is saying no to the new constitution. The civil societies are
joining hands with the political opposition to fight this new program of President
Tandja… and together they are planning some demonstrations on the 19th,
20th and 21st of this month," Kamardine said.
He said opponents of the
referendum want to defy President Tandja's decree.
"After those demonstrations,
they are planning to recall the former members of the House of Assembly because
they said all what Tandja is doing is illegal," he said.
Kamardine said a
constitutional provision allows Nigeriens to resist oppression.
"So, as he is actually doing
illegal things, they are going to fight because the former constitution in one
of its articles (calls) on the people to resist whatever is illegal when
someone is trying to walk on the old constitution," Kamardine said.
He said Nigeriens are
expressing displeasure over the destruction of their democracy.
"They are saying it is too
bad that after 10 years of full democracy, they can't understand why he is
trying to destroy everything," he said.
Kamardine said the
opposition is refusing to divulge details of its plans to challenge the new
"They say they will not tell
how they are going to do it but said definitely, they will do it. So we are
waiting to see. You know the other time during the voting day they called (on)
the population to stay home and the population did," Kamardine said.
Tandja has won accolades for bringing stability to Niger and improving the
But both the local
and international communities have condemned the referendum as undermining the
county's fledgling democracy.